Notes on coming to Rwanda (2)

Rwanda mapTHIS struck a cord with some Nigerians (seeing a girl leave home just to watch her mother take part in Umuganda.) As Nigerian reading this, you might wonder if such is possible where there is a collective effort towards our own form of environmental sanitation.

After Umuganda, there is usually a get-together meeting (town hall-like) better known as “Inama rusange”- literally meaning “general assembly. I was informed that if the get together is mixed with some drinks and maize sharing; Rwandans call it “Ubusabane”.

At such gatherings, government officials talk to the people and believe it when I say that after the talk, people dance to songs and the August Umuganda was no exception. After President Kagame spoke to the residents, the Deejay on the wheels of steel (the turntable) showcased dexterical skills; spinning Rwandan hits and Rwandan dance moves and steps became the order of the day.

You cannot be a frequent visitor to this country and not learn their dance moves. And as Nigerians, we took a crash course on Rwandan dance moves on the spot.

After the Inama rusange and as people moved to their various homes and destinations, some Nigerians got talking and in summary, we wondered how a monthly community initiative could turn out to be engaging and fun and most importantly, attract foreigners? I found the answer and I leave you to ruminate on it.

Today, close to 80 per cent of Rwandans take part in monthly community work. Successful projects include the building of schools, medical centres and hydro-electric plants, as well as rehabilitating wetlands and creating highly productive agricultural plots. The value of Umuganda to the country’s development since 2007 has been estimated at more than US $60 million.

Aina, Kigali, Rwanda.

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